Medical Director at the Bougainvillea Clinic Dr Heskith Vanterpool has said kidney transplants in the British Virgin Islands will save the government and the National Health Insurance (NHI) millions of dollars in years to come.
Dr Vanterpool made the comment following his clinic’s first successful kidney transplant surgery on Saturday, December 7.
“My understanding is [that] government puts over $6 million a year into dialysis for about 56 patients, which is about $110,000 that government spends on each patient on dialysis. That is not just this year, it’s every single year going forward that the patient remains on dialysis, and they don’t come off dialysis unless they die or get a kidney transplant,” Dr Vanterpool explained.
He said the option for a patient to receive a kidney transplant will be much more feasible for both the government and the patient. He argued that it is much cheaper and considerably more beneficial as patients can return to normalcy after a successful transplant.
“The first year of a transplant is roughly what it costs to one year of dialysis. But after the first year, there is no more operation, so the cost to maintain a patient with a transplant is about 40 percent to 50 percent of what it costs to be on dialysis,” Dr Vanterpool said.
“In other words, $100,000 to $110,000 if you transplant somebody. Every single year the government will save $50,000 to $60,000 for each patient, and in 10 years’ time the government and NHI will save $500,000 more on each patient,” he reasoned.
Dr Vanterpool also noted that due to the inability of most persons who are on dialysis to continue working, it further leaves a void in the NHI’s revenue stream.
He said: “The government makes a payment to the hospital or the NHI to take care of patients who can’t pay their own NHI contributions, and most patients on dialysis don’t make a contribution to NHI.”
Following the BVI’s first kidney transplant, Dr Vanterpool said he believes his clinic can facilitate at least one kidney transplant per month or eight within year. He said once more medical institutions come on board to conduct such procedures, the number can double or even triple.
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